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Fred Thompson on Government Reform

Former Republican Senator (TN)


Passionate supporter of states rights

Fred Thompson is an outspoken and passionate supporter of "states rights". He was often a lone voice in the Senate cautioning against the creeping effects of Federalism that overburdens taxpayers and state and local governments alike.

Thompson says, "Congress routinely passes laws and resulting regulations which are in conflict with state laws and regulations. These federal laws do not state whether or not they are intended to preempt the state regulations. Clearly, members of Congress don't want their constituents back home asking why their state authority has been stripped. But Congress can have it both ways. They leave the legislation ambiguous, knowing that the federal courts will more often than not interpret the statute as preempting state law. I introduced a bill that essentially said, "Congress must state whether or not the federal legislation is intended to preempt the state regulation." Period.

Source: The Fred Factor, by Steve Gill, p.162-163 Jun 3, 2007

Term limits counter professionalization of politics

Sometimes I think that I'm the last guy around who still thinks term limits is a good idea. The professionalization of politics saps people's courage. Their desire to keep their job and not upset anybody overrides all else -- even if it hurts the country
Source: Speech to Lincoln Club Annual Dinner, Orange County CA May 4, 2007

Voted YES on banning "soft money" contributions and restricting issue ads.

Vote on passage of H.R. 2356; Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (Shays-Meehan bill, House equivalent of McCain-Feingoldf bill). Vote to ban “soft money” contributions to national political parties but permit up to $10,000 in soft money contributions to state and local parties to help with voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. The bill would stop issue ads from targeting specific candidates within 30 days of the primary or 60 days of the general election. Additionally, the bill would raise the individual contribution limit from $1,000 to $2,000 per election for House and Senate candidates, both of which would be indexed for inflation.
Reference: Bill HR.2356 ; vote number 2002-54 on Mar 20, 2002

Voted YES on require photo ID (not just signature) for voter registration.

Motion to Table Schumer Amdt. No. 2937; To permit the use of a signature or personal mark for the purpose of verifying the identity of voters who register by mail, and for other purposes. Voting Yes would kill the amendment. The amendment would allow a signature to identify voters who register by mail, instead of requiring showing photo identification or other proof of residence before being allowed to vote.
Reference: Bill S.565 ; vote number 2002-38 on Feb 27, 2002

Voted YES on banning campaign donations from unions & corporations.

Vote to ban soft money donations to political parties and forbid corporate general funds and union general funds from being spent on issue ads. The bill would increase the individual contribution limit to candidates from $1,000 to $2,000.
Reference: Bill S.27 ; vote number 2001-64 on Apr 2, 2001

Voted YES on funding for National Endowment for the Arts.

This table motion would end debate on an amendment aimed at funding for the National Endowment for the Arts. Support for the motion to table is a vote for NEA funding. [YES to table means supporting the NEA; NO means defunding the NEA].
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)80; N)16; NV)4
Reference: Motion to table Smith Amdt #1569; Bill H.R. 2466 ; vote number 1999-260 on Aug 5, 1999

Voted YES on favoring 1997 McCain-Feingold overhaul of campaign finance.

Support of the campaign finance bill proposed by Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Feingold (D-WI).
Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
Reference: Campaign Finance Reform Bill; Bill S. 25 ; vote number 1997-267 on Oct 7, 1997

Voted YES on Approving the presidential line-item veto.

Approval of the presidential line-item veto authority.
Status: Conf Rpt Agreed to Y)69; N)31
Reference: Conference Report on S. 4; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 1996-56 on Mar 27, 1996

Voted NO on banning more types of Congressional gifts.

To exclude certain items from the Congressional Gift Ban.
Status: Amdt Failed Y)39; N)60; NV)1
Reference: Murkowski Amdt to S. 1061; Bill S. 1061 ; vote number 1995-339 on Jul 28, 1995

Other candidates on Government Reform: Fred Thompson on other issues:
TN Gubernatorial:
Phil Bredesen
TN Senatorial:
Bill Frist
Bo Heyward
Bob Corker
Chris Lugo
Ed Bryant
Harold Ford
Lamar Alexander
Van Hilleary

2004 Presidential:
Pres.George W. Bush
Sen.John Kerry
Ralph Nader

2008 possibilities:

Sen.Hillary Clinton
Sen.John Edwards
Sen.Russ Feingold
Rudy Giuliani
V.P.Al Gore
Sen.Barack Obama
Sen.John McCain


2006 Senate retirements:
Jon Corzine(D,NJ)
Mark Dayton(DFL,MN)
Bill Frist(R,TN)
Jim Jeffords(I,VT)
Paul Sarbanes(D,MD)
2006 Senate Races:
(AZ)Kyl v.Pederson
(CA)Feinstein v.Mountjoy
(CT)Lieberman v.Lamont v.Schlesinger
(DE)Carper v.Ting
(FL)Nelson v.Harris
(HI)Akaka v.Thielen
(IN)Lugar v.Osborn
(MA)Kennedy v.Chase
(MD)Cardin v.Steele v.Zeese
(ME)Snowe v.Bright
(MI)Stabenow v.Bouchard
(MN)Kennedy v.Klobuchar
(MO)Talent v.McCaskill
(MS)Lott v.Fleming v.Bowlin
(MT)Burns v.Tester
(ND)Conrad v.Grotberg
(NE)Nelson v.Ricketts
(NJ)Menendez v.Kean
(NM)Bingaman v.McCulloch
(NV)Ensign v.Carter
(NY)Clinton v.Spencer
(OH)DeWine vBrown
(PA)Santorum v.Casey
(RI)Chafee vWhitehouse
(TN)Ford v.Corker
(TX)Hutchison v.Radnofsky
(UT)Hatch v.Ashdown
(VA)Allen v.Webb
(VT)Sanders v.Tarrant
(WA)Cantwell v.McGavick v.Guthrie
(WI)Kohl v.Vogeler v.Redick
(WV)Byrd v.Raese
(WY)Thomas v.Groutage
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